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Better late than never: NWS to move away from all caps in forecasts

The National Weather Service’s area forecast discussions will soon shift to more reader-friendly mixed-case words.Screenshot/National Weather Service

The days of the National Weather Service appearing to SHOUT ITS FORECASTS will soon be over.

Starting May 11, the government agency will shift from using all capital letters to a more reader-friendly mixed-case, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The change comes as new forecast software is introduced, allowing forecasters to move away from teleprinters that use only upper-case letters, a statement from the NOAA said.

“While the hardware and software used for weather forecasting has advanced over the last century, this holdover was carried into modern times since some customers still used the old equipment,” the statement reads.


The move likely will bring a sigh of relief from journalists, forecasters, and weather aficionados who regularly read the reports.

“In web speak, use of capital letters became synonymous with angry shouting,” the statement reads. “However, it took the next 20 years or so for users of Weather Service products to phase out the last of the old equipment.”

However, at least one meteorologist said the change might take some getting used to.

“People are accustomed to reading forecasts in upper case letters and seeing mixed-case use might seem strange at first,” said Art Thomas, a weather service meteorologist, in the statement. “It seemed strange to me until I got used to it over the course of testing the new system, but now it seems so normal.”

The area forecast discussions, public information statements, and regional weather summaries will all transition to mixed-case words beginning May 11, after the required 30 days of notice to customers. Severe weather warnings will make the change this summer, and certain forecasts — such as aviation and shipping — will continue to use all upper-case letters due to international agreements to standardize certain formats.